John Calvin possessed one of the most brilliant minds among Reformation theologians, sparking a movement that revolutionized the Christian church in Europe, America, and ultimately the rest of the world.
Calvin saw salvation differently than Martin Luther or the Roman Catholic Church. He taught that God divides humanity into two groups: the Elect, who will be saved and go to heaven, and the Reprobates, or damned, who will spend eternity in hell. This doctrine is called predestination.
Instead of dying for the sins of everyone, Jesus Christ died only for the sins of the Elect, Calvin said. This is called Limited Atonement or Particular Redemption.
The Elect, according to Calvin, cannot resist God's call to salvation upon them. He called this doctrine Irresistible Grace.
Finally, Calvin differed totally from Lutheran and Catholic theology with his doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints. He taught "once saved, always saved." Calvin believed that when God began the process of sanctification on a person, God would keep at it until that person was in heaven. Calvin said no one could lose their salvation. The modern term for this doctrine is eternal security.
The Influence of John Calvin
To spread his teachings, Calvin established primary and secondary schools and the University of Geneva. Geneva also became a haven for reformers who were fleeing persecution in their own countries.